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Wizards at Knicks, Preseason Game 3: John Wall Is Back!

Six months and six days. That is how long it has been seen John Wall played in an official NBA basketball game since sitting out the tail end of the 2015-16 regular season. Tonight’s game did not matter much, but everything the All-Star point guard was of the utmost importance.

Early on it was the Carmelo Anthony show as the elite forward dropped 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including four from beyond the arc. Anthony averaged 30 points against Washington last season and showed no signs of slowing down. Luckily for Washington, the tide turned in the second quarter where the road team went on an extended 39-18 run that turned a 10 point deficit into an 11 point advantage. It was 53-46 good guys at halftime, at which point the bench finished the rest of the game.

For what it’s worth, which is nothing, the Wizards lost to the Knicks 90-88. Don’t fret because we are pretty sure Danuel House was just fulfilling the desire of veterans to not have to sit on the bench through another overtime game. Here are three key takeaways from the game:

John Wall is back!

Washington’s leader on and off the court had himself a nice little tune-up game. Wall played 16 minutes, all in the first half, and scored 8 points while adding four dimes. He did not get to his 100 miles per hour gear, but executed the fast break when the opportunity presented itself. Wall finished with a team-best +11.

Pending a setback, Wall should remain ahead of schedule and be ready to go in less than three weeks at Atlanta.

Words are great, but the best way to appreciate Wall’s play is in picture form.

Power forward conundrum

With Markieff Morris taking the night off with an injury, Scott Brooks started the seven-foot free agent signing Jason Smith alongside Marcin Gortat. The former Magic big played 22 minutes and scored just four points on eight field goal attempts. Things turned interesting when Johnny O’Bryant III saw significant playing time over another Orlando Magic signing, Andrew Nicholson. O’Bryant is on the outside looking in for a spot on the Wizards roster but helped his chances with a solid 10 point, 7 rebound showing. Nicholson only saw garbage time late, but showed off a nifty little hook shot as two of his seven points on the night.

Bold Prediction: Casper Ware will be in the NBA

No, not with the Wizards, but the 5-foot-10 point guard has an edge about himself that many coaches enjoy. The fact that he got into a scrap with Brandon Jennings is a plus.

More importantly the point guard has a knack for game-tying buckets late in games.

Bonus nuggets:

  • Sheldon McClellan and Daniel Ochefu did not play tonight. It is unclear if that is because they are close to locking in a roster spot or the other way around. There are still four preseason games left to see the tail end of the roster fight things out.
  • The Wizards had 22 turnovers, which was a major issue with the squad last season. New York only translated these miscues into 15 points, but the Wizards still need to clean up that facet of their game over the next two plus weeks.
  • In limited action (14 minutes), Ian Mahinmi looked solid on the defensive end. The French native only recorded one block but affected many other shot attempts in the paint and grabbed five rebounds. Washington had little rim protection last season so Mahinmi’s addition is surely useful.

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

One thought on “Wizards at Knicks, Preseason Game 3: John Wall Is Back!

  1. Good summary. Wall had the perfect preseason return to playing, and I have this feeling that he will have better season (even more production, and much more fun) than he had in 2015-16. O’Bryant is a very strong and hardworking player who will be hard to cut. But I really think Nicholson should be the first PF off the bench – He has some Big Al Jefferson in him. Smith looked flat last night against the young but huge and brilliant KP, but I still think he will be a better rotation big than Bryant over the course of a season. And, sorry to say, but it was inevitable – Ochefu had been cut last Friday. Oubre still looks as extremely green as he is extremely physically gifted (lots of turnovers, not thinking about what to do with his drives to the rim, lack of off-the-ball defense).

    Ware is a tough little dynamo of a PG, and I expect that he will end up on some NBA team’s roster when they face PG injury problems. Jennings is an volume shooter who can be explosive scorer, but he can also be quite a jerk on the court – Getting in the face of a the 17th ranked player on the opposing team during a preseason game showed a lack of class and honor, even if the slobs at MSG enjoyed how he hammed it up. The Knicks have a pair of very talented but highly brittle PGs this season – It could go either way for them (they both stay healthy and the Knicks make the playoffs, or they get hurt and the Knicks flounder – Again).

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